The Miwok tribe of Indians occupy an area of the United States on the West Coast of California. The primary area of the Miwok lay on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Miwok tribe was extremely isolated and rarely traveled outside of its own villages. The Miwok never knew the official names of neighboring Indians and simply referred to them as people to the north, west and other directions.
The Miwok tribe generally falls into two categorical groups: The mountain tribe and the foothill tribe. The mountain tribe generally lives in the Sierras to avoid the heat of summer by escaping high up into the hills. The offerings of the mountains such as fruit, berries and fishing kept the Miwok tribe fed and secure. The foothill tribe foraged on the plentiful offerings of the Yosemite and Sequoia groves.
Winter was especially harsh in the Sierras. Every fall, the mountain tribe would abandon the higher locations and retreat first to the lower levels and eventually to the foothills. Much in the same manner as the larger game animals, the Miwok understood that existence was much easier in the lower elevations. They gathered nuts and grasses to last the winter and focused on the game that had been driven out of the hills.
The Miwok tribe was not as advanced in tool making as many other tribes. They failed to use stone and antler in ways that the other tribes had learned to use it. The act of gathering firewood was hindered by the failure to use bone and antlers as a wedge to fall a tree. The Miwok tribe simply burned dead trees down and broke the branches with large stones.
The Miwoks also didn't utilize the canoe. Members of the tribe that could not swim were ferried across open waters on logs that were pushed along by swimmers. The Miwok Tribe, however, were very adept in basket weaving. They used baskets to trap fish as well as to sift meal and grind nuts. The art of weaving was used to create baby baskets, cradles and food preparation tools.
Miwok men wore deerskin breech cloths worn around the waist or passed between the legs. In the wintertime, the men would do as the women and drape a deerskin or woven rabbit skins around their shoulders. Deerskin moccasins were worn when needed. Hunters often created disguises out of deer skins and used them for concealment while hunting deer.